WRC - 2017 Wales Rally GB - Preview

20.10.17

Dayinsure Wales Rally GB (26-29 October), the penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship, could be a title-decider after one of the closest-fought seasons in which no fewer than six drivers from all four competing manufacturers have claimed wins. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia have their first chance to take an impressive fifth world title, while their M-Sport team looks set to clinch what would be an emotional and historic victory in the Manufacturers’ Championship on home soil.

The event was founded in 1932 and it was not until 1960 that the introduction of forest roads transformed the rally into what it is today. Originally the route toured England, Scotland and Wales but, since 2000, it has largely been based in Wales. It is a classic on the calendar with world-renown forestry stages. Britain’s unpredictable autumn weather also all-but guarantees wet, slippery and muddy conditions.

After two no-scores in Germany and Spain, Thierry Neuville - previously Ogier’s nearest rival - has gone from leading the Championship on equal points after nine of the 13 rounds to third position, 38 points adrift of the Frenchman and one point behind second-placed Ott Tänak. Both Tänak and Neuville mathematically have everything still to fight for, but victory for Ogier or a 31-point lead would seal the title in Wales. In the Manufacturers’ Championship, M-Sport needs to get one of its registered cars to the finish to score four points and claim a momentous victory for the British based outfit.

An impressive entry of 79 cars for the international event is the biggest field since the rally moved to north Wales in 2013, so competition will be fierce in all the categories, not least the FIA WRC 2 Championship where 23 crews will be fighting for honours.

ROUTE GRAPHICS

gb map ss.png

THE 2017 ROUTE

The route for this year’s event in mid and north Wales will be largely familiar but kicks off with an all-new stage at Tir Prince Raceway on Thursday evening. Friday presents the classic stages of Myherin, Sweet Lamb and Hafren, all three of which will be driven twice with nothing more than fresh tyres splitting the loops. Saturday is a marathon day with a double loop of stages in Dyfi and Gartheiniog, and a quick dash around Cholmondeley Castle before two night stages - also run earlier in the day - round off the day’s 142.38 kilometres of action. Five stages await on Sunday, including a return to the Gwydyr stage for the first time since 2013, before the final live Power Stage at Brenig.  In total, three stages will be broadcast live; SS12, SS18 and SS21.

WHAT WE SAID…

“This event has always been one of the most challenging on the calendar, a real classic of the discipline,” commented Jarmo Mahonen, FIA Rally Director. “The conditions are ever-changing because of the weather and teams need to be prepared for everything at this time of year. It’s a tricky rally for a possible title-decider.”

RALLY DATA

Total distance:
Stage distance:
Number of stages:

1,488.10 km
304.36 km (20.5%)
21

MEDIA ACCREDITATION

The Accreditation Centre is located at Deeside Service Park, Zone 3, Deeside Industrial Park, CH5 2TW.  The opening hours are:

Monday 23 October
Tuesday 24 October
Wednesday 25 October
Thursday 26 October

14:00 - 19:00 hrs (for media recce only)
14:00 - 18:00 hrs
09:00 - 19:00 hrs
08:00 - 18:00 hrs

WALES RALLY GB TIMETABLE AND MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES ORGANISED BY THE FIA

Wednesday 25 October
Mandatory media safety briefing, photographers' room 

Thursday 26 October
Shakedown (P1 drivers)
Shakedown (P2 and P3 drivers)
'Meet the Crews', Service Park
Shakedown (non-Priority drivers)
FIA Press Conference, Press Room
Autograph session, Tir Prince, Towyn
Start of Section 1, Tir Prince, Towyn

Friday 27 October
Regroup, Newtown
Autograph session, Chester Eastgate
First car arrives for final service and Media Zone, Deeside
'Meet the Crews', Service Park

Saturday 28 October
Regroup, Corris
First car arrives for regroup, service and Media Zone,
Deeside
First car arrives for final service and Media Zone, Deeside
'Meet the Crews', Service Park

Sunday 29 October
Regroup, Brenig
Prize-Giving and podium ceremony, Llandudno
FIA Press Conference, Press Room


17:00 hrs


08:00 - 12:30 hrs
10:30 - 12:30 hrs
12:00 hrs
12:30 - 13:30 hrs
13:00 hrs
17:50 hrs
18:57 hrs


12:53 hrs
19:01 hrs
19:51 hrs
During the 45' service


11:13hrs
16:40 hrs

22:16 hrs
During the 45' service


11:27 hrs
14:15 hrs
16:00 hrs 

FIA PRESS CONFERENCE ATTENDANCE

Thursday 26 October








Sunday 29 October

Kalle Rovanperä, FIA WRC 2 Championship
Matt Edwards, FIA WRC 2 Championship
Kris Meeke, Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT 
Thierry Neuville, Hyundai Motorsport
Sébastien Ogier, M-Sport World Rally Team 
Ott Tänak, M-Sport World Rally Team
Elfyn Evans, M-Sport World Rally Team
Esapekka Lappi, Toyota GAZOO Racing WRT

Winning FIA WRC 3 Championship crew
Winning FIA WRC 2 Championship crew
Top three crews in the overall classification
Representative of the winning competitor

MANUFACTURER ENTRIES, WALES RALLY GB

M-Sport World Rally Team



Hyundai Motorsport



Citroën Total Abu Dhabi
WRT 


Toyota GAZOO
Racing WRT

Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (#1)
Ott Tänak / Martin Järveoja  (#2)
Elfyn Evans / Daniel Barritt (#3)

Hayden Paddon / Sebastian Marshall (#4)
Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (#5)
Andreas Mikkelsen / Anders Jæger (#6)

Khalid Al Qassimi / Chris Patterson (#7)
Craig Breen / Scott Martin (#8)
Kris Meeke / Paul Nagle (#9)

Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (#10)
Juho Hänninen / Kaj Lindström (#11)
Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm (#12)

ADDITIONAL MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES 

Autograph Signing Session: On Friday and Saturday selected crews will be available for a 15 minute autograph session. This will take place in the service park during the end of day service at the teams’ service areas. 

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP CLASSIFICATIONS

The provisional classifications for all the WRC Championships can be found on the following link:

http://www.fia.com/events/world-rally-championship/season-2017/standings

STAGE CHART

Shortly after the finish of the event, a downloadable stage chart showing the progressive positions of the leading crews during the rally will be available. This is copyright free for editorial purposes and available at the following link:

http://www.fia.com/events/world-rally-championship/season-2017/stage-chart-23